Hacking People

Have you ever wanted to HACK the personality and brain of other people?

Vannessa Van Edwards did that for us in her book CAPTIVATE.

As much as I LOVE the Myers Briggs personality tests, after reading the book “Captivate“, I have a torn heart. Vannessa (I’m sure she doesn’t mind me calling her by her first name) was able to narrow down five distinct personality traits that allow for a better way to hack the personalities of every individual we come across in our day to day life.

These personality traits come with an acroymn in which she calls, OCEAN. Makes it easier to remember right, acroymns are great!

O – Openness

“This trait reflects how we approach new ideas. It also describes how curious someone is, their level of creativity and how much they appreciate variety and originality.”

HIGH: “Enjoys novelty, change and adventure.”

Think of that one couple who travels a lot and go out to different places. Or better yet, that one person who keeps posting on Instagram of all the places they’re going making you feel like you’re losing out in life as they show off a photo of their tenth trip to Hawaii or Cancun.

LOW: “Enjoys traditions, routines and habits.”

Think of a person who wakes up in the morning and does the same thing over and overa again each day without thinking, kind of like a robot but not really. Then at one point, realizes that they’ve actually missed out on life and gets depressed from it. Then they go crazy inside.


MIDDLE: The best indicator of whether or not you’re more high or low is to see where you end up going most of the time to eat out.

 C – Conscientiousness

“This trait describes how we approach getting things done. It prescribes our self-discipline, organization and reliability”

HIGH: “Loves to-to lists, organization, and schedules. Enjoys digging into the details and making things ‘perfect’.”

This is a bit like me. I make to-do lists all the time. I once had three to-do lists going at the same time. One on my calendar, scheduler, and one on my computer.

Why did I do this?

I think at the time I thought it made me feel busy or something. Then once I started trying to shop for the best “To-Do” list notebook, I knew I had a problem.

Who shops for something that helps you feel anxious? “Oh look! I found it! The most organized to-do list that will stress me out the most!”

LOW: “Typically prefers big idas and strategy. They might find lists and schedules stifling and overwhelming.”

I’m ALSO like this, hence my big picture mentality or “dreamer” like personality. You never get things done this way I’m sorry to say. We definitely need the high conscientiousness folks in our lives.

E – Extraversion

“This trait describes how we approach people. Extraversion is how people get engery from social situations-either they are drained or refueled. It can also affect someone’s talkativeness and optimism.”

HIGH: “Gets energy from being with people, tends to be cheerful and seeks out social time.”

Oh my gawd…not me.

LOW: “Craves alone time and finds being with people draining.”

Yes, me.

A – Agreeableness

“This trait describes how we approach cooperation and working with others. It also speaks to how empathetic someone is and how quickly they are to forgive people around them. This trait also explains how disposed someon eis to pay attention to the mental states and feelings of others.”

HIGH: “Easy to get along with, very emphathetic and enjoys caring for others.”

Not to brag but, I’ve had people tell me that they love working with me. But the thing is, I don’t try to intentionally make myself likeable by others. The secret is to simply look out for the person as much as the process.

As someone who is naturally gentle at heart for the most part, I like to ensure the peace between myself and others. I don’t want to get into unneccessary drama and fights that could easily be avoided.

It’s those that learn to care for others that tend to be the better leaders and have the most growth.

LOW: “More analytical, practical and skeptical.”

I always found those who are much more analytical to be a little cold, but this is also unintentional on their part as well. It makes sense, they’re priority is on their craft, on the process, on whatever it is that they are trying to accomplish.

We need a good balance of both. However, I’ll tell you this (and I’m not being biased here), those who know how to manage people hire these kinds of people. Care about others and you’ll probably get further in life, even if it’s just in your heart, you’ll feel much more fulfilled.

N – Neuroticism

“This trait describes how we approach worry. It also explains how emotionally reative a person is to their environment.”

HIGH: “Worriers and are frequently anxious and moody.”

Geez…I guess I’m a high neurotic. I’ve had moments where I just couldn’t sleep right because I was so anxious about stuff (ie. school projects where I was the only one doing everything).

LOW: “Calm, stable and have very little mood change.”

But…this is also kind of me too. I guess I’m a bit of the middle on this one. For the most part, I have a balance of both high and low. It takes a certain threshold to get me over the edge from low to high.

In the end it depends on how high I’ve allowed my threshold to hit in the past. If I have a higher threshold, it’s because I’ve gone through enough situations that make any other seemingly stressful situation to one person not so much to me.

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